The Depression/Anxiety Thread
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21-04-2012, 11:21 AM
The Depression/Anxiety Thread
Dr. Buckminster made a suggestion to me to start a thread for Depression.

A lot of folks seem to deal with Depression or Anxiety or both. I've been pretty vocal about my own dealings with both and know I'm not alone.

Bucky told me about a show on CNN recently aired about treating depression with electrodes. Rumor has it, will be on again tomorrow.
Here's a clip and article about a woman who had the treatment.

http://www.cnn.com/2012/04/14/health/bat...index.html

I find it fascinating that back in the 50s, ECT (Ectro-Convulsive Therapy) was a popular treatment. But it seems as time went on, it became associated with barbaric techniques like leeches and blood letting. (See the "Shock Shop" in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest for a good example). Now, it seems to have come back in vogue as a viable treatment for depression.

The point of this thread is to have a reasonably safe place to talk about our emotional woes. Maybe you have situational depression. What causes it? How long do you usually suffer from it? How do you treat it?

Or maybe your depression is more clinical, longer-lasting, and more pervasive.

I've dealt with depression throughout my whole life, but it's become the sharpest and most debilitating in the past year. Also, as I started having it treated more aggressively through meds and therapy, I discovered what a bitch Anxiety can be. Seems that is my biggest problem these days. It seems that a lot of my issues are rooted in my past Christian worldview. I'm learning that the only way out is to go through. In other words, I've spent a lot of energy repressing my thoughts and feelings rather than working through them to understand and hopefully change them.

So let this be a thread to talk about your issues. Or maybe you don't have any and you've always wondered why those mopey depressed people you know don't just "get over it."


Also, upon further review, it seems there are already a few various threads floating around out there, so I've linked them here to put the discussions in one easy to find place.

http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...depression

http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...depression

http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...depression

http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...depression

http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...depression

Let the good times begin!

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"All that is necessary for the triumph of Calvinism is that good Atheists do nothing." ~Eric Oh My
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21-04-2012, 12:20 PM
RE: The Depression/Anxiety Thread
They didn't have no blood test for diagnosing manic depression during the decades I was being treated. It was all based on interviews and trial and error with different pharmaceuticals and dosages. Apparently we are now on the brink of new diagnostic and therapeutic technologies: Discovery of blood transcriptomic markers for depression in animal models and pilot validation in subjects with early-onset major depression

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21-04-2012, 12:52 PM
RE: The Depression/Anxiety Thread
I've stuff to say but no time right now.

Will say quickly that my sister in law is working with electro shock right now (in her career) and it is showing some impressive results to the patients, some being nearly cured of symptoms. A jump re-start for their brains. I think because it wasn't quite understood years ago, and overdone, it became an archaic practice but there are new discoveries and new information on how to use it. Cool stuff!

And sorry things are so shitty right now Erxomai, rough patches suck!
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21-04-2012, 02:07 PM (This post was last modified: 21-04-2012 05:37 PM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: The Depression/Anxiety Thread
I was very close to my granny. When she died, I went bonkers. I started waking up with chest pain, and one New Year's Day, I stopped by the ER and said, "hmmm, my hands are cold, why is that ?"... they said, "here's some Ativan, stop working so hard".

Long story short, people with mental dysfunction are really over a barrel, because the only treatment, (and I DID need something), is drugs, whose side effects slow up your brain, (Vallium, Clonazapam/Klonapin), etc. If you keep taking that crap, you just need more and more of it, and nothing changes, (except you "slow" down mentally). Now, having moved out of that, I am fascinated that our brains can do such amazing things with their chemistries. And I feel for people who have to live, subjected to and being "victims" of chemistry. The SSRI's, (Seratonin Receptor Re-uptake Inhibitors) work on some, (ex. Prozac), but on some, like me, they have a "paradoxical" affect..and make things instantly worse, so they're out.

The program by Sanjay Gupa on CNN shows that very directed and limited electrical stimulus, might work for depression.

Just like the electical treatments for seizures, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19332313 , maybe this will work too !

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21-04-2012, 03:02 PM (This post was last modified: 21-04-2012 04:13 PM by Anjele.)
RE: The Depression/Anxiety Thread
Anxiety usually doesn't bother me much. For me it's usually directly linked to something specific. I had a hard time growing up with abusive parents, I never knew what would set who off and if it may lead to a brutal beating...so I think my anxiety was well founded. Over time it has diminished almost completely.

Depression is a whole 'nother subject. I have dealt with it for many years. I have been on many different meds over the years, some that didn't work and some that did but I didn't care for the side effects. Dad got real sick about 5 years ago and I did turn back to meds for depression. (Note: he was very abusive when I was young but we finally grew close and I accepted his apology and moved on.) When I felt I was over a rough patch I would quit the meds. Then my cancer diagnosis...oh boy! I went to my doctor (who is FABULOUS) and told her that I wanted to go back on Lexapro and I promised to stay on it. And I have...it's the one that works for me.

That's not to say I am happy and giddy now. I can deal with things better and overall I just feel much better and it stopped the broken records that would play in my head.

I did some therapy a about 7 years back with a wonderful doctor and she really helped me work some things out. She said I have great coping skills in that I had figured out ways to distract myself from low times...for instance, my commute was torture because of the things that went round and round in my head...so I started buying stand up comedy CDs to listen to on the drive. George Carlin, Eddie Izzard, Richard Prior, Chris Rock, Ron White, (almost forgot Lewis Black)...they got me through some bad times.

So, the depression is usually manageable, sometimes not so much...but much better and I credit finding the right meds and letting go of some past shit that I can't change. I also reduced my contact with people that stressed me out. Some people think what I did was cold when I cut the most toxic people from my life...but I had to in order to survive.

I have learned to actively work to snap out of it after allowing myself some wallowing time.

'See here they are, the bruises, some were self-inflicted and some showed up along the way.' -JF
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21-04-2012, 04:05 PM
RE: The Depression/Anxiety Thread
I fully agree with you Erxomai - the only way forward is to face the truth.
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23-04-2012, 01:38 AM
RE: The Depression/Anxiety Thread
*disclaimer- after hitting the preview post I realize this has become a wall Confused and also, it's late for me so I hope this shit makes sense. Might have to correct some things or re-explain bits when I have a rested mind. Drinking Beverage
As promised, lots to say.
(21-04-2012 11:21 AM)Erxomai Wrote:  It seems that a lot of my issues are rooted in my past Christian worldview. I'm learning that the only way out is to go through. In other words, I've spent a lot of energy repressing my thoughts and feelings rather than working through them to understand and hopefully change them.
Instead of repressing them, you can literally change them. You are so right, covering them up keeps the path of feelings and thoughts there but acknowledging them and creating a new outlook and path can completely change them and free you from any pain the current ones cause.

It used to be thought that there is a cap on neuronal paths and that new ones couldn't be created, but now we know they can be. A person can be ninety, and with some work, they can recreate their outlook, feelings and thought patterns to help themselves- amazing!



Me personally, I have felt both depressed and felt anxiety.

I felt depressed earlier in life mostly and had pretty bad postpartum depression with my first baby and a little bit with the second (I think because I recognized it I was able to help myself and not have it get as out of control). In more recent years, after a traumatic incident, I developed huge feelings of anxieties for awhile. I still get anxious, but I have a good set of skills and tools to help myself and it is a great thing. I feel more in control with a positive outlook, which is amazing considering I know the alternative.

Not to say things people already may know, but I just want to clarify where I'm coming from Smile First of all, I agree that in some states (of mind) it's very important to seek professional help and medication if needed. There is a huge stigma attached to mental health which is incredibly unfortunate. It is seen as a sign of weakness and almost disease. The shame some people feel when they are affected is too bad, because really mental health and wellbeing are not just made up in our heads, it is so real and physical. It is literal matter in our brains that creates the situation. Some is genetic or created by environmental factors (be this a literal environment-stress at work, toxic fumes or drug induced, maybe a heavy indoctrination environment like many of us have experienced or some type of other abuse) where the meds come in handy maybe for a life time or maybe temporarily until we can handle it on our own. Other times it is temporary or slight, or the conditions are such that can be helped through other non-medicated means, just enough where we need to gain a skill or therapy to help us in the right direction to manage the mental health. No one person is like another when it comes to a seemingly simple term, like depression or anxiety.

For depression, I have learned to take care of myself or it's a slippery slope. I learned this acronym that always helped me keep in check.

H-ungry
A-angry
L-onley
T-ired

If I was feeling depressed, I'd 'HALT' (stop) and think of this. If two or more of these symptoms were present, I'd likely be feeling depressed and should try to keep them in check. Sleep was huge! Also, exercise helped a lot (which is not a part of HALT but very important for mental stability), as did yoga (seriously- plus that is like a back massage if you get the right instructor!)

After much practice, I was able to find a balance and routine that worked. Not saying this is easy, or a guaranteed formula. Some days were (and occasionally are) tough. I'd literally have to force myself out of bed or to get moving. I think at one point I even had an accountability partner. Sounds cheesy, but sometimes just getting going is the hugest step and then things did fall into place (or do).

Depression and anxiety often go hand in hand because it's all so overwhelming.

When I became intensely anxious it was so debilitating I couldn't even work. For me, I chose not to find a psychologist (more likely to prescribe medication) because I knew my anxiety stemmed from a situation rather than a genetic or otherwise disposition. I had to find help though, so I searched for a councillor or therapy of some kind. Since this was my background in my career (counselling) I was very picky. At the time I was frustrated because I thought I could see through the counselling techniques so they wouldn't work, but now I realize it's not that they weren't working but it was that the professionals I tried out were just plain shitty at their jobs. From my experience I always tell people to shop around for someone who works and don't give up on the first one or two and say it's all crap. If there is a personality miss match or something doesn't feel right, go somewhere else, just like you would for a dentist, doctor or hair dresser.
I finally found the most amazing talk-therapy doctor EVER. In a couple of months I was back full time at work and feeling much more relaxed and confident. Now I see him once a year, which is recommended for everyone like you would do a check up for a physical.

I learned a lot about anxiety and how it works, and how to make it through. And yes, it is something to work through.
Anxiety stems from the feeling of being out of control. Sometimes we can pin point exactly what that is. Sometimes it's future (new up coming job, meeting with a friend we had a falling out with, etc) and sometimes it is from a past experience (we may have been in an accident and now are afraid to make left turns, or maybe someone we loved betrayed and abandoned us). So the thing that happened or may happen leaves us feeling helpless. So we worry and worry. We picture every outcome over and over. Many of us come to the conclusion that the worry will not help or solve the problem, but it seems to keep festering anyway. I should also mention sometimes we can't pinpoint the anxiety, it's just a feeling and we don't know why. This can still be helped, too. The good thing is it doesn't actually matter what we are feeling anxious over, it's just the feelings we have to deal with. So what do we do now? Why can't we just relax about it?

Well, we can when we adjust the mental attitude with practice, *I* have to stop the festering worry in my mind. Anxiety is pretty well never about what is happening this very second. So, when we focus on the moment right now, we can relax.

I remember one day I was feeling particularly anxious when I arrived at my therapist and we were sitting there and he asked me what was wrong. I told him what I was worried about. He said well is this person here right now with us, and is this situation happening right now? I answered no. He said where is your daughter? I answered where. And he said, so as far as you know right now, she is safe? I said yes. Then it seemed over and over he asked what's wrong right here right now? Over and over to the point of almost interrupting until I finally said okay nothing is happening! Then he yelled "Aha! You are okay and there is nothing to worry about!" I was instantly relaxed more and felt better. It seems SO simple, and I realize people worry about major concerns and issues, but at that moment I realized it's a conscious choice that takes practice to relax in every moment. To literally take things step by step. And that is what overcoming anxiety is about. It's about demystifying things that are out of our control and choosing to live for the moment. It's about taking the power away from our problem and giving the control back to ourselves. Let Saturday happen on saturday, let next month happen then and let next Thanksgiving dinner with the inlaws happen on Thanksgiving (lol). If there IS something I can do to help myself today (study for that scary test, research the facts or truth on a certain subject that's bugging me, putting as much money aside that I can for that debt or retirement, etc) then do it today, but only worry about what can be done today because today is all I have.

Again, not always easy or perfect, but helpful. Having a clearer idea of these things and how they worked helped me to work through it all, and lots of practice.
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23-04-2012, 10:06 PM (This post was last modified: 23-04-2012 10:08 PM by Erxomai.)
RE: The Depression/Anxiety Thread
Hey LJ, thanks for sharing your story. I actually made it all the way through. Wink
I'm trying to imagine my therapist ever asking me, "What's wrong?" Or even saying, "Aha, you're okay!" She doesn't say much. I purposely picked a Psychodynamic therapist, but sometimes she drives me crazier because she doesn't say much. But then when she does, it's usually profound in the moment. I should start viewing her as a Zen Master. Smile

If you find out more about the work your sister-in-law is doing, I'd love to hear about it.

(21-04-2012 02:07 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  I was very close to my granny. When she died, I went bonkers. I started waking up with chest pain, and one New Year's Day, I stopped by the ER and said, "hmmm, my hands are cold, why is that ?"... they said, "here's some Ativan, stop working so hard".

Long story short, people with mental dysfunction are really over a barrel, because the only treatment, (and I DID need something), is drugs, whose side effects slow up your brain, (Vallium, Clonazapam/Klonapin), etc. If you keep taking that crap, you just need more and more of it, and nothing changes, (except you "slow" down mentally). Now, having moved out of that, I am fascinated that our brains can do such amazing things with their chemistries. And I feel for people who have to live, subjected to and being "victims" of chemistry. The SSRI's, (Seratonin Receptor Re-uptake Inhibitors) work on some, (ex. Prozac), but on some, like me, they have a "paradoxical" affect..and make things instantly worse, so they're out.

The program by Sanjay Gupa on CNN shows that very directed and limited electrical stimulus, might work for depression.

Just like the electical treatments for seizures, http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/19332313 , maybe this will work too !
Bucky, there are some days that Ativan is my best friend. Or maybe it's like an American Express Card...Don't leave home without it. No

"All that is necessary for the triumph of Calvinism is that good Atheists do nothing." ~Eric Oh My
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23-04-2012, 10:17 PM
RE: The Depression/Anxiety Thread
(23-04-2012 10:06 PM)Erxomai Wrote:  Hey LJ, thanks for sharing your story. I actually made it all the way through. Wink
I'm trying to imagine my therapist ever asking me, "What's wrong?" Or even saying, "Aha, you're okay!" She doesn't say much. I purposely picked a Psychodynamic therapist, but sometimes she drives me crazier because she doesn't say much. But then when she does, it's usually profound in the moment. I should start viewing her as a Zen Master. Smile

If you find out more about the work your sister-in-law is doing, I'd love to hear about it.
Yeah, the story was not for the faint of heart, sorry Big Grin

You should totally pretend she is a zen master, you will get more from the experience and more bang for the buck! Ha ha.

I can elaborate a bit on what she told me a little while ago, but I am talking to her soon, so I will rack her brain first. Smile
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23-04-2012, 10:22 PM (This post was last modified: 23-04-2012 10:28 PM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: The Depression/Anxiety Thread
(23-04-2012 10:06 PM)Erxomai Wrote:  Bucky, there are some days that Ativan is my best friend. Or maybe it's like an American Express Card...Don't leave home without it. No
Believe me, I get it. Some days, I was really desperate..and my doc doesn't like drugs. The fascinating thing is, in my case, it all just stopped. I'm trying to figure that out. I really don't get it. I was really debilitaed there for a while, and it all just went away. Now, (contrary to my previous "impatience".. and "get over it" attitude towards mental problems), I have great empathy towards those who suffer from it. Actually, this is what I think cured me ... surfing.




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